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An Indian lawyer’s incredible collection of vintage cars

By Maria Thomas
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

As a child, Diljeet Titus developed a fascination for his grandparents’ classic cars. He even planted his toy cars in the ground, hoping they would grow into trees filled with real ones.

But it wasn’t until decades later, when he established his own law firm that he had enough money to start investing in his passion. Beginning in 1999, Titus built up a collection of classic cars, and by now owns 72 of them, including historic Cadillacs, Chevrolets, and Rolls Royces. He also owns the only Stutz in India, produced by the American Stutz Motor Company. For him, collecting cars is like collecting art.

“While during my initial years of collecting, I bought almost every vintage or classic (car) that came my way, I have been more focused over the past two years,” Titus, general secretary of the Heritage Motoring Club of India, said in an email. “Over these two years, I have bought cars only if they were rare, custom-built, had low mileage, and documented provenance.”

His collection now includes vehicles that once belonged to India’s maharajas, well known for splurging on luxurious rides. In 2003, Titus opened up a museum to display his cars, as well as a number of vintage motorcycles, horse carriages, and auto parts from the past.

This week, some of Titus’s classic cars are on display at New Delhi’s Auto Expo. Here’s a selection of them:

Diljeet Titus
1930 Stutz Series M, 4 Passenger Speedster, Dual Cowl, LeBaron. This is the only surviving Stutz in India, and was previously owned by maharaja Ranjitsinhji KCSI of Baria, Gujarat.
Diljeet Titus
1933 Minerva, Type AL, Seven Passenger Laundalette de Ville. Previously owned by Raja Mohammed Amir Ahmed Khan from Mahmudabad, Uttar Pradesh. Only nine of these cars exist in the world today.
Diljeet Titus
1934 Rolls Royce 20/25 7 Passenger Sedan (coach built by Kellner, France). This car was first owned by maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda before being acquired by Bollywood actress Mumtaz Madhwani in 1978. In 2007, it came to Titus’s collection.
Diljeet Titus
1935 Auburn, Boat Tail Speedster 851. A total of 147 Speedsters were made between 1935 and 1936, and Titus says this one was owned by a nobleman in Tamil Nadu and used as a wedding car. It was acquired by Titus from the automotive historian maharaj Manvendra Singh of Barwani.
Diljeet Titus
1939 Dodge, Seven Passenger Convertible. This car was custom-built for the maharaja of Palitana, Gujarat, and was used for state processions and touring.
Diljeet Titus
The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, Sedan, USA. This car was previously owned by the maharaja of Tehri Garhwal.

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